Ring of Fire Expeditions (ROFE) is the longest consecutive astronomical tour organization in the United States. ROFE specializes in astro-tourism since 1970 with expeditions organized and led by Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society and arranged by Direct Travel, Inc.
These include tours to observe such events as Halley’s Comet, the Leonid meteor shower, transits of Venus and Mercury across the Sun, spacecraft reentries, Northern Lights, solar eclipses, grazing occultations, and occultations of stars by minor planets.
The number of eclipse tours listed that we have completed are for separate solar eclipses, not just individual programs. We are a public outreach effort of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society led by amateur astronomers and welcome all persons who are interested in astronomy and the natural sciences. You do not need to have a science background or any prior experience to join us!
Some expeditions have challenges which we do our best to work around. For example, the photo to your left shows a military escort for our team in Turkey in 1999.
We do our best to witness the power and glory of a solar eclipse,
While most RING OF FIRE total solar eclipse expeditions travel to the center line to obtain maximum totality, we sometimes have a small secondary expedition to observe near the edge of the path of totality. We also observe annular eclipses and will observe either from the edge where Baily’s Beads phenomena are wonderfully prevalent, or the center line. We strive to keep the group sizes reasonable; sometimes the overall demand exceeds our expectations. For our larger expeditions we conduct a site survey (when possible) in order to obtain the best observing locations, with tour group safety as our primary concern. Direct Travel (formerly Hanssen Direct Travel) handled all expeditions beginning in 1977. Direct Travel, Inc then took over in 2017.
SOLAR ECLIPSES I HAVE CONDUCTED
The following is list of all the solar eclipses I have attempted. The formal Ring of Fire Expeditions number is listed in the column to the right. At the urging of colleagues I am now including partial eclipses which I do not count in my list of historical expeditions. Many annular and total eclipses were observed from the edge where Baily’s Beads science was attempted. The ‘eclipse type’ below is the resultant eclipse where I attempted observation. For example, if the eclipse was total and I was not able to get to the zone of totality, I attempted observation as close as I could get to the location of totality. In that case I would list it as partial. This was especially difficult in my early years where I was not able to afford travel. The location is the name of the closest town, named village. The NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society eclipse team is represented by the Texas flag. If you see this flag at an eclipse, it is probably RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS.
|NUMBER||DATE||ECLIPSE TYPE||LOCATION OBSERVED|
|1||9/20/60||PARTIAL||LOS ANGELES, CA USA|
|2||7/20/63||PARTIAL||SAN ANTONIO, TX USA|
|3||5/9/67||PARTIAL||EDINBURG, TX USA|
|4||9/11/69||PARTIAL||HOUSTON, TX USA|
|5||3/7/70||TOTAL||VALDOSTA, GA USA|
|7||7/10/72||TOTAL||CAP CHAT, QUEBEC, CANADA|
|9||12/13/74||PARTIAL||HOUSTON, TX USA|
|12||10/12/77||TOTAL||LAKE GUATAVITA, COLOMBIA|
|13||2/26/79||TOTAL||LAKE WINNIPEG, CANADA|
|15||8/10/80||PARTIAL||HOUSTON, TX USA|
|17||6/11/83||TOTAL||BANGIL, JAVA, INDONESIA|
|18||5/30/84||TOTAL-ANNULAR||ATLANTA, GA USA|
|19||11/22/84||TOTAL||KWIKILA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA|
|20||5/19/85||PARTIAL||ANCHORAGE, AK USA|
|21||10/3/86||PARTIAL||HOUSTON, TX USA|
|24||3/7/89||PARTIAL||SCOTTSDALE, AZ USA|
|25||7/22/90||PARTIAL||HONOLULU, HI USA|
|26||1/15/91||ANNULAR||NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND|
|27||7/11/91||TOTAL||SANTIAGO IXCUINTLA, MEXICO|
|28||1/4/92||ANNULAR||OTTA ISLAND, TRUK|
|29||5/21/93||PARTIAL||PHOENIX, AZ USA|
|30||5/10/94||ANNULAR||LENEXA, KS USA|
|37||8/22/98||ANNULAR||JOHORE BARU, MALAYSIA|
|40||7/31/00||PARTIAL||ANCHORAGE, AK USA|
|41||12/25/00||PARTIAL||HOUSTON, TX USA|
|43||12/14/01||ANNULAR||PUNTA ARENAS, COSTA RICA|
|44||6/10/02||ANNULAR||TINIAN, MARIANAS ISLANDS|
|52||9/22/06||ANNULAR||KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA|
|58||7/11/10||TOTAL||HIKUERU, FRENCH POLYNESIA|
(& SPRINGDALE, UTAH)
|62||11/14/12||TOTAL||MOUNT CARBINE, AUSTRALIA|
|67||3/9/16||TOTAL||PACIFIC OCEAN, MICRONESIA|
|69||2/26/17||ANNULAR||VILLA SIMPSON, CHILE|
|70||8/21/17||TOTAL||GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA, USA|
|74||1/6/19||PARTIAL||SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA|
|81||10/15/22||PARTIAL||AKROTIRI & DEKELIA, CYPRUS|
|82||4/20/23||TOTAL||MONTEBELLO ISLANDS, AUSTRALIA|
NORTHERN LIGHTS (AURORA) EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED
Aurora viewing can be one of the most satisfying and exciting types of trips that one can imagine. Unlike solar eclipses seeing the Northern Lights lasts far longer and can extend over many nights. I have been able to observe these dramatic appearances on land, sea and air. The image above was taken January 31, 2018 and is only a sample of what you can see visually even with a Full Moon present as it was on this night.
|NUMBER||DATE||DESTINATION||METHOD OF TRAVEL||AURORA SEEN??|
|9||2015 OCTOBER||NORTH KOREA||AIR||YES|